Kenya’s ICT sector is set to witness changes arising from the imminent consolidation of 3 independent bodies to form the proposed Kenya ICT Authority or ICTA.
While commenting on a discussion on KICTanet, the ICT Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i wrote that: “The gazette notice to fully establish the ICT Authority having been signed by the President, ICTA is now a reality and this brings together all of which was formerly the Directorate of e-government, Government IT Services (or GITS) and the Kenya ICT Board.”
“We have embarked on the immediate steps of institutionalizing ICTA including putting up a board for the same – which I hope we will do by end of the month (August) and identifying the men and women who will help manage the Authority in its first transitional and formation days,” stated Dr Matiang’i via KICTanet.
The Directorate of e-Government overall mandate was to To design, implement and sustain an integrated e-Government infrastructure and services for the prosperity of Kenyans while the GITS is currently domiciled at the Treasury and performs various functions including developing and implementing an appropriate ICT policy for the public sector; advising the government on matters related to ICT; networking and spearheading the equipping of the entire public sector with appropriate ICT facilities as well as providing the necessary ICT interface between the public sector and stakeholders. Its other functions are to offer technical advice on the procurement of ICT equipment; update ICT in government so as to keep pace with technology developments and ensure optimal operation and use of ICT through training and other capacity building interventions.
The Kenya ICT Board, on the other hand, had four main mandates the main one being to position and promote Kenya as an ICT destination (locally and internationally), especially promoting Business process Outsourcing (BPO) and Offshoring.
“There may be no consensus yet on how the list of priorities should be ordered but we are optimistic that with the establishment of ICTA, the Kenya government’s approach to ICTs deployment will surely change (have better government websites, a better and more robust government e-mail system, institute a public communication policy, have government adopt a communication coordination mechanism etc)”, he noted.
The ICT Cabinet Secretary also announced that in the first week of September, the Ministry would host a meeting with the ICT Executive Committee members of all the 47 counties in Kenya to ensure that there is a “coordinated and effective interface between the national and county governments on ICT policies.”
“I have taken very seriously a number of issues that have been raised about how county governments could affect national plans on deployment of ICTs – especially if we do not address the issue of infrastructure development levies, support to security and credibility of ICT infrastructure, last mile connection etc. We hope the opportunity to get together in the first week of September will enable us reflect on these issues and begin to construct a platform for effective synergy in national and county ICT policy implementation,” he stated.